The Nerf Maverick is one of the most well-known and recognised Nerf guns, even featuring in Penny Arcade comics from time to time. The Maverick is also one of the most well-balanced mods for playing Nerf games with. It’s small, fairly lightweight, holds six shots at a time and is of the more modern trigger-activated Nerf type. It also looks pretty bad-ass, like a cross between an old-fashioned revolver and Judge Dredd’s Lawgiver. It’s a shame that it only comes in bright purple or yellow – though, as we’ll show later, that’s something that can be easily fixed.
To fire the Maverick all you do is pull back the slide on the top of the gun, which fills the chamber of air inside. A full trigger pull will release a large spring, shrinking the now air-filled chamber rapidly and forcing the contained air out towards the uppermost cylinder chamber, propelling the hollow dart forwards. The cylinder will then rotate, bringing a new dart into position just as with a conventional revolver.
It’s a very elegant design in many ways, but one which does have a few flaws – some unavoidable, others deliberate. Firstly, the amount of power darts can be fired with is reduced by the fact that there’s an open gap between the dart and where the gas is expelled from. Secondly, the dart cylinder is designed so that it only leans out enough for you to insert darts one by one – to reload you need to put in one dart, rotate the cylinder, put in the next dart, and so on. It’s needlessly slow.
The innards of the Nerf Maverick
Thankfully, simple mods exist to rectify both of these problems. The first step is simple enough – take the Maverick apart. To do this you need to take all the screws off of the casing, starting with the ones on the movable slide, then other structural screws. Don’t forget the screws underneath the slide either, like we always do.
Once you’ve got them all off then it should be fairly easy to pry the Maverick in half, but be careful you don’t knock the innards about too much – you don’t want to lose any of the springs in the slide mechanism. Take special note of a steel pin attached to the inside of the slide too, as when you reassemble the Maverick this pin has to go through a loop in the small spring at the top of the slide’s workings.
The guts unveiled, all you have to do is remove the entire dart cylinder. To do this press the button that releases the cylinder, as you would normally to reload the Maverick. Keep it held down and pull the entire cylinder out, towards you. It’ll come out with the grey pivots still attached. Take a look at the pivot which normally sits towards the front of the gun and you’ll see it has a small raised segment. It’s this bump which acts as a catch, stopping the cylinder from opening fully when you reload. Grab a hacksaw or file and remove this catch, completing the cylinder mod.
Left: The filed-down cylinder Right: Upping the power for a few pennies extra
The first step in increasing the firing power of the Maverick is to remove the air chamber and compressing spring – the big orange tube and the biggest spring you can see, in other words. Next, you need to insert a material behind where the spring was, meaning the spring has less space and becomes more compressed, closing the air chamber faster when the trigger is pulled. You can use pretty much anything that fits to fill this space, but don’t use too much as that’ll stop the trigger system from working. We found four English pennies worked perfectly, but you could equally use a bit of cork or plastic. Bear in mind that it’ll make the slide harder to pull no matter what you use, as the spring is under more pressure.
There are some more elaborate techniques for increasing the firing power of the Nerf Maverick, such as removing the air restrictors inside the barrel and creating new air channels with straws and a hot glue gun, but in our experience these can often just cause more problems than they solve. Instead of over-tinkering with the firing power of the Maverick (it’s still just going to shoot foam darts anyway), we think it’s far better to just reassemble the mod and start thinking about other things.